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Draymond Green says he will be away from Warriors for a few days: ‘I was wrong’

An apologetic Draymond Green said he “was wrong” and will be away from the Warriors for a few days to “continue to better myself.”

Green has been away from Golden State since Wednesday when he threw a vicious punch at Jordan Poole during practice. The Warriors organization tried to play the incident down, but on Friday video of the fight leaked and things looked far worse for Green — he was the instigator and this was no “push and light jab” fight, Green threw a haymaker that could have injured Poole.

Green spoke to the media on Saturday, two days after he apologized to teammates, but he did so again publicly.

Steve Kerr said later that the decision for Green to be away from the team was “mutual” between him and management.

Green was asked if he would play in the Oct. 18 season opener against the Lakers, the Warriors ring ceremony. He said he hoped to but that decision has yet to be made.

After the video leaked, the Warriors could no longer hope this incident would just go away (although they are happy to deflect attention to how the video got leaked). There is speculation the Warriors could change course and suspend Green for several games. So far, the only word from the organization has been that things would be handled “internally.”

Green admitted he needed to do more to work on himself.

He also said the looming contract situation in Golden State — where Poole could get a large contract extension before the season starts, while Green has wanted a max extension all summer but the Warriors put talks off — had nothing to do with the incident, and professed his love for Poole.

Green was contrite and did it by speaking to the media (there had been concern around the Warriors he would drop a podcast on the topic and defend his actions). That’s a first step.

But there are a lot of questions we don’t know the answer to that will go a long way in determining how this plays out. First and most importantly, how is this being perceived in the locker room? By Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and the other leaders? Does the locker room want to see a suspension or other, more public penalty for Green? Part of the Warriors’ success in this era has been about the team chemistry, the camaraderie, and joy they play with — Green has been an emotional part of that. Now has the dynamic changed?

The money aspect that Green played down matters as well. Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob has hinted that the team doesn’t want to go above (a frankly ridiculous) $400 million in salary and luxury tax payments, but if the team were to extend Poole, Green and Wiggins at the money they feel they deserve the team would obliterate that barrier. It has led to speculation about who could be out — it’s not the young and up-and-coming Poole, who likely gets his extension before the season starts (Tyler Herro just set the market for him at four years, $120 million). There has been a lot of speculation the Warriors see Green as fading and might try to force him to opt-in on his deal for next season ($27.6 million) or trade him, allowing them to keep Wiggins. Does this incident throw fuel on that fire, or do the Warriors still see Green as an indispensable part of a title team they can’t move on from?

Green has spoken, but this story is not over.